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companero che .com - the truth about Ernesto Che Guevara
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    - baptism of fire    
      - el Comandante    
       - heading toward victory    
      - victory      
      - political life      


On 17th February 1957 Fidel Castro, Frank Pas and other leaders of the July 26 Movement in the province of Oriente met in the Sierra Maestra. Che joined in the meeting. This was the only time he saw and spoke to Frank Pas, who made a strong impression on him for his sincerity and dynamic, applicable attitude.


"He gave us a silent lesson in order and discipline, cleaning our dirty guns, counting the bullets and organizing them so that they would not get lost. From that day on, I made the resolution to take better care of my weapon (and I kept it. I can't say I was a model of meticulousness, though.)"


On 28th May 1957 during an attack to the Uvero barracks the Rebel Army reached its adult age obtaining a decisive victory according to what Che said later on . Che actively participated in the course of the combat which was very intense. After the end of the fight Che, in his medical functions, looked after the wounded rebels as well as dictator?s soldiers.


On 5th June 1957 Ernesto Che Guevara was appointed commander of the fourth column of the Rebel Army.


"After the battle of Uvero and bringing a small column with the wounded under my charge, which had gradually received several isolated fighters, to the main column, I was appointed Head of the Second Column, called 4, which was to operate east of the Turquino Peak. It should be said that Fidel-led column operated mainly west of this mountain and ours on the other side, as far as we could cover. There was a certain independence in the tactical command, but we were all headed by Fidel, with whom we kept in touch through messengers every week or fifteen days."


In July 1957 in El Hombrito, Che set up a school, a shoe factory, a leather workshop, an armory with an electric lathe, a tinsmith's shop and a blacksmith's shop. He also created, deep in the Sierra Maestra mountains, a newsletter he named El Cubano Libre (The Free Cuban).

It was precisely in the first issue of this newsletter that he noted that, when Cuba was on the threshold of becoming an independent nation, in the Cuban jungle the magnificent voice of a mambi newspaper made itself heard. Its name was an act of faith in the future: El Cubano Libre. Che sent Fidel Castro the first issue of El Cubano Libre and invited him to cooperate with this publication.


"As to the spread of our ideas, first we created a small paper called El Cubano Libre, in memory of the heroes of the Cuban jungle, of which three or four issues were published under our direction."


On 1st August 1957 The members of the column headed by Che carried out a successful attack against the Bueycito garrison. The rebel fighters inflicted several casualties on the soldiers of the dictatorship and captured some weapons.


"At the top of California, after leaving the trucks, the weapons were handed over. Although my part in the combat was negligible and none too heroic as I gave my back to the few shots that came my way, I took for myself a Browning machine gun, which was the jewel of the garrison, and left the old Thompson and its very dangerous bullets that were never shot at the right time ..."


On 29th August 1957 Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara met in a place in the Sierra Maestra mountains to plan new actions. For several days the two rebel columns marched at times together and others separately over the eastern mountains toward Pino del Agua.  On 30 August 1957 The Che's forces fought the soldiers of the dictatorship in El Hombrito, in the Sierra Maestra mountains, and inflicted on them a terrible defeat. On 17th September 1957 In Pino del Agua, Che and his column carried out a surprise attack on a group of soldiers. The rebel fighters scored a decisive victory, for the troops of the dictatorship suffered 37 casualties, among them six dead.


"When we captured the first truck, we found two dead, one wounded, who, in his agony, still gestured as if he were fighting. He was terminated without giving him a chance to surrender. This act of vandalism was perpetrated by a combatant whose family had been annihilated by the Batista army. I recriminated him violently for that action without realizing that another wounded soldier was within earshot. He was hiding under some blankets and had remained very still in the back of the truck. When he heard me and the apologies our comrade was making, the enemy soldier revealed his presence, begging us not to kill him. He had been shot in the leg, which was fractured, and he was left on the side of the road while the fighting went on in the rest of the trucks. Every time a combatant went by him, he would cry: `Don't kill me, don't kill. Che says you mustn't kill prisoners`"

<- Baptism of fire Heading toward victory ->

A detailed chronology of Che's life you can find
in this book "A Brave Man" on Cuba Directo website


©2008 Nigel Hunt - All Rights Reserved.

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